I was reminded of this story while trying to answer a question on this site. Can anyone tell me the title and author?

Set in America and featuring the (alien humanoid) governor of Earth after a conquering invasion. The invasion was only successful because the aliens have a force-shield that will even deflect atomic weapons. He reflects that if they had arrived 50 years earlier it wouldn't have succeeded because the humans didn't have atomic weapons then (I don't remember/understand the logic of this). He also reflects that the officer in charge of the invasion narrowly escaped being executed for incompetence; cultures at the current level of humankind usually petition to join the empire for the trade-advantages. The only thing that saved the officer is that Earth's mental-health/psychiatry isn't up to empire standards.

The governor doesn't understand why Earth had destroyed all its modern depictive art, anything post-raphaelite. His secretary is a skinny female human whose husband is in a home for the mentally ill.

There is one scene in which the governor is invited to choose from a line-up of juno-esque women and deliberately doesn't choose the one he is expected to choose. He takes his choice in his official car and she suggests the driver takes a different route which takes them over a land-mine. Only the governor survives (because of the force-field).

The governor forms a liaison with the most voluptuous woman from the previous line-up. Eventually the humans invent the force-field technology for themselves and force the aliens off-planet. The governor invites the woman to come with him and she accepts but says there is something he should know first. Present-day human culture finds skinny attractive and his secretary was Miss America at some time. I think he says he knew of the shift in opinion.

At some point he brings out the cured husband of the secretary but I can't remember where that fits in the story-line.

  • Do you happen to recall why the humans destroy all that post-Renaissance art?
    – user14111
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 10:39
  • Is this a short story or a novel? Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:19
  • I can't remember whether it was a book or a short-story. I don't think it was a full-length book but there does seem to be a lot going on for a short-story. I would guess a long short-story but it's only a guess. Humans had destroyed the art (I don't remember whether it was all, or only art depicting humans, or only art depicting women) in order to hide that the human ideal form for women was now slimness; pre-renaissance art favoured voluptuous women and this was the aliens' favoured form too. Commented Sep 29, 2021 at 8:09
  • Turns out to be a novelette, this explains why I couldn't decide whether it was a short story. Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


As per Vanguard3000's answer to Short story: Aliens want our women, but just the fat ones, this is likely "The Wrong World" by J. T. McIntosh.

The plot, as I recall it, is that human-like aliens conquered earth with nearly no significant resistance due to their overwhelming technology, including energy shields functionally similar to those in Dune.

Afterward, many of the invader's officers decide to stay on Earth, finding many Earthling women to be very beautiful. Many of the officers have human women as aides to facilitate integration. Strangely, the aliens find no trace of women depicted in modern art and media; it had all been destroyed during the invasion.

It's eventually revealed that the women the aliens find beautiful turn out to be those that human men find less attractive. Effectively, the humans have won by way of absorbing the near-human aliens into their own society by pairing them off with women human men don't want.

  • That is impressive, I found it at archive.org/details/Galaxy_v19n02_1960-12/page/n3/mode/2up. I suggested it as a reply to the other question (by description, not title not author) but my comment was removed for not being an answer. Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 8:31
  • Eyeh, as written, it sounded like an "I have this problem too" answer, and making it its own question was the right thing to do.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 10:08

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